Africa Using Blockchain to Drive Change, Part Two: Southern Solutions

Health care, identity management and renewable energy are some of the non-financial blockchain use-cases gaining popularity in Africa.
With pundits like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey predicting that Africa “will define” the future of Bitcoin (BTC), cryptocurrency and blockchain technology continue to attract interest from both public and private establishments across the continent. Many of these adoption cases have been moving beyond finance, developing solutions targeted at issues like unemployment, identity management, health care and supply chain, among others.Amid the growing enthusiasm for crypto and blockchain technology in Africa, industry stakeholders interviewed by Cointelegraph identify a lack of education as one of the major hurdles standing in the way of more broad-based utilization of the technology. The absence of clear-cut regulations and minimal support from various governments have also had a negative impact on the rollout of pilot projects that could provide solutions to some of the problems plaguing the continent.Southern Africa — a blockchain frontierAccording to data from the World Economic Forum, Africa has the world’s youngest population. Of the top 20 nations with the lowest median age, the only non-African nation is Afghanistan, with Niger having a median age of a little above 15 years — about half of the global average.Such a high concentration of a young demographic presents opportunities for an increase in the adoption of emerging technologies as seen in the mobile market boom across the continent. Indeed, Africa is reportedly the fastest-growing mobile market in the world.Blockchain technology has the potential to follow the trajectory already set by mobile telephones in Africa. Apart from digital currency systems being used for cross-border remittance, several projects in Africa have been exploring blockchain-based solutions to problems that have eluded solutions for decades.All of the industry stakeholders interviewed in this article by Cointelegraph about the state of blockchain utilization in Southern Africa agree that there is an ongoing narrative shift. While the initial focus of many projects was on payments and crypto trading, several startups have started examining non-financial use cases for decentralized ledger technology-based systems.Commenting on the pivot toward other DLT use cases, Chris Cleverly, the CEO of Kamari, a blockchain payment and gaming platform, revealed that it was a new development that only began taking shape in the last 12 months. In an email to Cointelegraph, Cleverly remarked:“In South Africa, the majority of blockchain growth until a year ago was all focused on trading and banking and generally the financial side of the sector. Lately though, there have been a wide variety of use cases emerging that are focused on media technology.”Energy-positive neighborhoods in rural AfricaCleverly also revealed that blockchain technology is being applied in the development of Africa’s renewable energy ecosystem, adding: “The Sun Exchange is another fascinating nontraditional financial use case for renewable energy.” According to Cleverly, “They created the world’s first peer-to-peer leasing platform that enabled anyone in the world to invest anywhere to create solar energy arrays, all maintained and enabled by blockchain technology.”Launched in 2015 in South Africa, The Sun Exchange

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